Old Trafford legends come to Harry Maguire’s defence
The Manchester United captain had an evening to forget against Sevilla, but was he to blame for the host’s early goal?
Harry Maguire was given an opportunity to prove his value at Manchester United due to the absence of Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, but he struggled against Sevilla.
The club captain had the ball stolen from him on the edge of the box to hand to hosts their opener after just eight minutes. It was an unfortunate start to the game for Maguire, who has struggled for form this season and lost his place in the starting XI.
But while it was Maguire who lost possession, some have questioned David De Gea’s decision to play him the ball while under pressure from three opponents.
One of those was former Manchester United player Gary Neville, who admitted that he “wouldn’t like” to receive the pass in this situation.
Likewise fellow Manchester United legend Paul Scholes admitted that Maguire was put in a difficult position by his goalkeeper on this occasion.
“I can only think of one centre half in world football that could call for the ball and handle it. Harry Maguire is not one of them,” Scholes said of the calamitous opening goal.
And Scholes did at least give Maguire some praise for his willingness to receive the ball under such pressure.
“You’ve got to give him credit there, for having the confidence,” Scholes added.
Even Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag admitted that the early mistake had had a huge baring on the game.
“It’s clear. When we make such mistakes, it’s difficult to win a football game,” Ten Hag said in a post-match interview.
“It’s a problem and we have to acknowledge it but against Brighton, we have an opportunity to work on that. You have seen what I have seen. We were not composed or calm.”
The Dutchman’s possession-based style was a hallmark of his success at Ajax and one the reasons why he was given the job at Old Trafford. With Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in defence he has been able to implement a more considered style of play but their importance was highlighted by Maguire’s struggles against Sevilla.
The first-choice pair is currently out injured and not expected to be back for Brighton this weekend.